Portugal – Widespread collaboration, in the name of Don Bosco, for NEET youth on social reintegration paths

06 March 2023

(ANS - Porto) - Since its foundation in 2019, the initiatives of the Social Service of the Salesians (SolSal) of Porto have focused on the creation of training and employment opportunities for young people who are NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Vocational Training). One of SolSal's current projects is the 'Electric Circus', a response inspired by St. John Bosco, who used circus techniques to motivate young people to dream and design their own future.

The Electric Circus is the result of collaboration between Porto's 'SolSal' division with Rio Tinto's 'Soutelo' Social Centre, the 'Erva Daninha' Company, and the 'Salesianos' Foundation; it also enjoys funding from EEA Grants' 'Active Citizens' program for the social empowerment of vulnerable groups, and the support of the consortium made up of the 'Calouste Gulbenkian' Foundation and the 'Bissaya Barreto' Foundation, which runs the program in Portugal.

The project, which started in May 2022, continues until July 2023, involving around 30 young people aged between 18 and 30 from the municipalities of Porto and Gondomar.

The Electric Circus is methodologically based on circus arts, as a motivational and socially empowering process for young NEETs. In this logic, the main objective is to initiate these young people towards employment through weekly workshops on personal and social skills, employability, and circus arts, focusing on personal development. In addition to the workshops, and based on a systemic vision, the project also provides individualized psychosocial support and occasional skill-building workshops for families and companies.

More recently, 'SolSal' Porto and its collaborators from the 'Soutelo' Social Centre and Companhia 'Erva Daninha' joined forces to apply the basis of this project to another context. In October 2022, 'Q-CIRCO' was established to build a response to the professional insertion of young people accommodated in the social reintegration paths of the 'Santo António' Educational Centre in Porto and the 'Areosa' Rehabilitation Centre.

This second project started in October 2022 and will last until 2025. It is being implemented thanks to the support of the 'Calouste Gulbenkian' Foundation and the 'La Caixa' Foundation, through the 'Partis & Arts For Change' initiative.

Moreover, on 18 January, 'Q-CIRCO' was one of the projects visited by the Minister of Culture Pedro Adão e Silva, as part of the 'Culture that we are' itinerary, dedicated to inclusion initiatives through the arts. On that occasion, the young people from the 'Santo António' Educational Centre received the Minister, the Supervisor of the Institute, Catarina Sarmento e Castro, and the Secretary of State for Inclusion, Ana Sofia Antunes, who were able to learn about the actions of 'Q-CIRCO' and understand the impact of this intervention on those serving prison sentences.

Source: Salesianos.pt


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